Once again young Trumpeter Swans have been released successfully in the Blackfoot valley. Ten young swans are enjoying their freedom and learning to live in the wild for the first time near Ovando. Seven of these were released in a public event on May 16. Over 100 schoolchildren from schools in and around the watershed attended the event, as well as several state leaders, including Governor Steve Bullock (see more swan release photos at www.facebook.com/blackfootswans). Three additional swans were released this month to join the original seven. They seem to be adjusting well to their new home and all are thriving.
We’ve also had over 20 swans return to the valley from their wintering grounds in southwest Montana. This includes a record number of five pairs that have set up territories this year! Four of those pairs are actually on nests, but we haven’t yet confirmed any young hatched.
Other returnees include at least 3 cygnets from last year that returned with their parents, and at least 4 two-year-olds that we think were hatched in 2011! These two-year-olds are traveling around the valley with some swans that were released last year.